It was a case of more than just Ruhr bragging rights at stake on Sunday, when Dortmund travelled to the Veltins Arena to take on eternal rivals Schalke. A win for Die Schwarzgelben, and they’d leapfrog their foes and take second spot, while Schalke themselves could go four points clear of Dortmund, putting them within distance of Champions League football.
In a game of such magnitude, there was always likely to be caution, and so by halftime a rather underwhelming affair was goalless. But it was only five minutes into the second period when the home crowd got thrown into eruption, Yevhen Konoplyanka putting them in front. One became two late on, as Naldo, who scored in that remarkable 4-4 draw in the reverse fixture earlier this season, crowned off the win with a goal 10 minutes from time. It means Schalke stay well-lodged in second, with a four-point lead over the rest, and are on the brink of Champions League football for the first time in four years.
As for Dortmund, they have dropped to fourth, on goal difference, thanks to a combination of their loss and Bayer Leverkusen beating Eintracht Frankfurt. In a week where Frankfurt expressed their ire over Bayern Munich announcing that their current boss, Niko Kovac, will leave the Commerzbank Arena hotseat for Munich, things barely got better for them. Despite going into halftime at the Bay Arena on level terms, Marco Fabian cancelling out Julian Brandt’s opener for Leverkusen, they would implode in the final 20 minutes, as Kevin Volland went on a rampage and bagged an 18-minute hatrick, to give Heiko Herrlich’s side all three points. It’s a result that not only puts Frankfurt four points off the top four, it also sees them drop two places to seventh.
As for Bayern Munich, they put five past Borussia Monchengladbach at home. After wrapping up the league last weekend, Bayern hosted Jupp Heynckes’ bogey team, and it looked like another grim feeling against Borussia when Josip Drmic put the visitors in front after just nine minutes. But two goals from Sandro Wagner turned things around before halftime, after which strikes from Thiago, David Alaba and Robert Lewandowski completed a 5-1 thrashing.
Elsewhere, Koln remain bottom after a Davie Selke brace proved enough for Hertha Berlin against Effzeh, Stuttgart and Hannover shared spoils at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, Hamburg suffered defeat at Hoffenheim, who move up to sixth, and Werder Bremen were held by fifth-placed Leipzig.
Mainz welcome Freiburg to the Coface Arena on Monday night.
Schalke 2-0 Dortmund
Bayern Munich 5-1 Monchengladbach
Hertha BSC 2-1 Koln
Wolfsburg 0-0 Augsburg
Leverkusen 4-1 Frankfurt
Hoffenheim 2-0 Hamburg
Stuttgart 1-1 Hannover
Werder Bremen 1-1 RB Leipzig